The debate is over. Chris Woodward has announced that the Texas Rangers will keep both Leody Taveras and Eli White on the Opening Day roster.
After a spring full of competition, Chris Woodward’s center field decision has been made. Both Leody Taveras and Eli White have made the cut.
In what became one of the most fun competitions to watch this spring, it is anything but surprising to see them both make the Opening Day roster.
Needless to say, the Texas Rangers won’t be complaining having the two defensive-minded outfielders on their roster.
With injuries to Willie Calhoun and Khris Davis, having the depth will only benefit the team.
Not only did the Rangers get younger, but they got more athletic, as well.
Both Taveras and White grade out really well defensively, showcasing good range, speed and two of the best arms on the team.
Leody Taveras was penciled in as the everyday centerfielder coming into camp, but got out of the gates cold.
Simply put, he was bad. Maybe the worst on the team to begin the spring.
He chased everything and couldn’t barrel anything up in the zone, but as of the last two weeks, he has put together extremely nice at-bats and has found his groove at the plate again.
His sub-.200 batting average was dismally low, paving the way for another youngster who was looking to make an impact.
Eli White came into camp after making slight adjustments to his swing over the offseason.
Boy, did they pay off, too.
The former college shortstop made the switch to the outfield grass after he came to the Texas Rangers in the Jurickson Profar trade in 2018.
White got his first taste of the big leagues last season, and knew he’d have an uphill battle coming into this spring.
With stiff competition in Taveras and Delino DeShields, White came in and proved he was meant to be a major leaguer.
So far this spring, White is hitting .323 with one homer, five RBIs and three stolen bases, all while bouncing across the outfield and playing some first base.
His versatility and hot bat have propelled him into an Opening Day roster spot, and depending on how David Dahl’s knee reacts to that foul ball, could be a starter in left field.
Taveras and White provide an elite outfield duo for the Texas Rangers to pair with Gold Glover Joey Gallo.
Imagine an outfield of White, Taveras and Gallo with David Dahl DH-ing to begin the season.
That is arguably the best defensive outfield the Texas Rangers have ran out on the field in some time.
Gallo’s cannon for an arm and good range only complement the already defensively-sound Taveras and White.
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All three outfielders have the makeup to be everyday centerfielders, and the Texas Rangers can have all three out there at one time.
This will undoubtedly be the most impressive defensive outfield the Rangers have ever seen.
With White, Taveras, Gallo and Dahl all on the Opening Day roster, as of now, the Texas Rangers will be forced to make some tough decisions in the near future.
Adolis Garcia has had an incredible spring training, as well as Jason Martin. Both of whom are deserving of a big league roster spot.
Ronald Guzman and Nate Lowe are also capable of playing the corner outfield spots. Both are looking to find at-bats.
Willie Calhoun and Khris Davis are sure to come back at some point this season, as well.
The Texas Rangers will have to make some very tough decisions regarding their outfielders, but it is a good problem to have.
However the Rangers decide to go about their outfield jam, fans should be excited by the young, controllable talent that will be rolled out in 2021. It’s the first glimpse of what the next great Texas Rangers team will look like.